July 3: Celebrating Canada

Apologies for the late arrival of the video. Technical issues seem to be resolved and the service is now available.

This morning’s service is a bit different in that there is no actual sermon. This morning, our worship focuses on hymns and the Canadian connection behind them.

Welcome & Announcements
• Next week – weather permitting, service is outside

Lighting the Christ Candle
As we light the Christ candle, may we be reminded that God’s radiant light lives within each and every one of us …

A Light Is Gleaming refrain only VU 82
A light is gleaming, spreading its arms
throughout the night, living in the light.
Come share its gladness, God’s radiant love
is burning bright, living in the light.


A Litany of Reflection
As we enter into this time of worship, let us open our hearts, our minds, and be present with God in a moment of prayerful reflection …
God of all generations, we come together this morning, to be with you, on Sacred land …
(music only): O Canada! Our home and native land!
Indigenous land, respected and valued.
(music only): True patriot love in all of us command.
True compassionate love, in all of us by God’s hand.
(music only): With glowing hearts, we see thee rise,
With aching hearts, we realize,
(music only): the True North strong and free!
was bought with many others’ blood and tears.
(music only): From far and wide, O Canada,
People came to colonize.
(music only): we stand on guard for thee.
But liberty has not always been shared.
(music only): God keep our land glorious and free!
May the promise of Canada continue to be:
(music only): O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
A land of unity, hopes, dreams, and diversity.
(music only): O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
May this be our legacy, by the grace of God.

(time of silence)

Our National Anthem, O Canada, has roots that stretch back to 1880 when it was commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, Theodore Robitaille for the 1880 St-Jean-Baptiste-Day ceremony. Originally written in French, its first known performance outside of Quebec was by a group of school children who sang it for the 1901 tour of Canada by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall (later to become King George V and Queen Mary). In 1967, O Canada was designated as our national anthem.

Please stand as you are able, and comfortable, and join in singing our national anthem,

  • Hymn O Canada

This morning – as with every morning –is a celebration.
We’re celebrating the beginning of summer.
We’re celebrating that we can be together to pray and to sing – out loud! We’re celebrating that Rev Chris and his family are finally able to take time for rest and renewal with a much needed and well-deserved sabbatical. Some are celebrating the 155th Birthday of Canada.

We’re celebrating the eternal love, grace and mercy of God.
Whatever the reason that brings glory to God, we are celebrating.

You will notice in your bulletin that there is a great deal of singing this morning. Each of the songs included in this morning’s service has a Canadian connection, and as we move through the service, you will hear what that connection is.

So let us begin – let us worship and celebrate this day, and all that surrounds us, in song.

Both the words and the music to our Call to Worship were written by Gordon Light, an Anglican Priest and later, a Bishop. He was educated at Carleton University and Trinity College in Toronto and following his ordination in 1969, served the Anglican church in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba. Bishop Light has four children two stepchildren, and currently lives with his wife in Kamloops, BC.

We’ll remain seated as we sing verses 1 & 5 of his hymn, Come Touch Our Hearts, found in your bulletin, from More Voices, #12

Call to Worship Come Touch Our Hearts MV12 vs 1&5

  1. Come touch our hearts
    that we may know compassion,
    from failing embers build a blazing fire;
    love strong enough to overturn injustice,
    to seek a work more gracious,
    come touch and bless our hearts.
  2. Come touch us now,
    this people who are gathered,
    to break the bread and share the cup of peace;
    that we may love you with our heart, our soul,
    our mind, our strength, our all,
    come touch us with your grace.

Walter Farquharson penned the text of this morning’s Opening Prayer.
Born near Rosetown, Saskatchewan in 1936, he was ordained in 1960, served as the Moderator of the United Church of Canada from 1990 to 1992, and was the minister of Saltcoats United Church in Saskatchewan for many years.

A summer holiday inspired the two-verse hymn of celebration, God Who Gives to Life Its Goodness, written while the Farquharson family camped at Kenosee Lake in Moose Mountain Provincial Park in Saskatchewan.

Opening Prayer God Who Gives to Life Its Goodness VU 260
God who gives to life its goodness,
God creator of all joy,
God who gives to us our freedom,
God who blesses tool and toy:
teach us now to laugh and praise you,
deep within your praises sing,
till the whole creation dances
for the goodness of its King.

God who fills the earth with beauty,
God who binds each friend to friend,
God who names us co-creators
God who wills that chaos end:
grant us now creative spirits,
minds responsive to your mind,
hearts and wills your rule extending
all our acts by Love refined

And we continue singing in prayer the words that Jesus taught us

Lord’s Prayer (sung) VU 960
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Our Opening Hymn was also written by Walter Farquharson. In speaking of his hymn, ‘Teach Me, God to Wonder’ he explains:
“Wonder” as I understand the word is the opposite of “taking for granted”.
I believe on the one hand that wonder is a natural response to the world around us and that it is with us, part of us, from the moment we first draw breath. On the other hand, it is also something learned or nurtured by those who are practitioners of the art.

Wonder is somehow a basal response to that which is beyond us, yet part of us. There is an aspect of something essential and engaging being within us. Yet, there is also an awareness, at some level of our being, that we have approached the mystery within which we exist.

Wonder gives rise to curiosity and a desire to know more, to see more deeply, to identify connections. Wonder gives rise to that which resonates, reverberates, becomes tactile and shapes that part of our knowing that is deep seated in our bodies, our organic reality expressed in skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. We catch our breath, experience a tremor, clap our hands, dance. We may be entranced or ecstatic not because we choose to be, but because we can do no other.

Wonder spurs creativity by activating imagination. It is akin to the world of dream and vision that celebrates what is but also promises or offers, as living possibility, that which could yet be. Song and story, indeed much of that which we know as art and as craft, is midwifed into shapes and forms for sharing and celebrating with others. In turn, the world of art will often move us into new places of wonder and wondering. The poet and the prophet, the composer and the researcher, the healer and the builder of community, by grace, become aware of the of the compulsion and the creativity which wonder urges upon heart, mind and soul.

The second verse of “Teach me, God, to wonder” is a movement within the experience of wonder, not a change of subject. We pray to be open and loving, able to see and respect our neighbours as neighbours given us by God.

Opening Hymn Teach Me, God, to Wonder VU 299 vs 1,2 (with refrain)
1 Teach me, God, to wonder, teach me, God, to see;
let your world of beauty capture me.

Refrain Praise to you be given, love for you be lived,
life be celebrated, joy you give.

2 Let me, God, be open, let me loving be;
let your world of people speak to me. Refrain


Ruth Duck and Ron Klusmeier collaborated on this song, which is based on Psalm 148. Ruth uses the Psalm as inspiration for this hymn, which encourages us to join with all creation to “sing, sing, sing to the Maker too.” It is a psalm which resounds with praise to the Lord God Almighty – the Creator of Heaven and the Earth. As the work of God’s hands, it is only right and proper that all of heaven and earth praise the Lord.

Scripture based on Psalm 148
It’s a Song of Praise to the Maker. MV 30 vs 1&4

  1. It’s a song of praise to the Maker,
    the thrush sings high in the tree.
    It’s a song of praise to the Maker,
    the gray whale sings in the sea,

Refrain And by the Spirit you and I
can join our voice to the holy cry
And sing, sing, sing to the Maker too.

  1. It’s the chorus of all creation;
    it’s sung by all living things.
    It’s the chorus of all creation;
    a song the universe sings, Refrain

Irish born Joseph M. Scriven was 25 years old, in love and about to be married. The day before his wedding his fiance died in a tragic drowning accident. Heartbroken, Joseph sailed from his homeland to start a new life in Canada. While in Canada working as a teacher, he fell in love again and became engaged to Eliza Roche. Once again, Joseph’s hopes and dreams were shattered when Eliza became ill and died before the wedding could take place.

Although one can only imagine his pain, history tells us that his faith in God sustained him. Soon after Eliza’s death Joseph joined the Plymouth Brethren and began preaching for a Baptist church. He never married, but spent the remainder of his life giving all his time, money and even the clothes off his own back to help the less fortunate and to spread the love and compassion of Jesus wherever he went

Around the same time that Eliza died, Joseph received word from Ireland that his mother was ill. He could not go to be with her, so he wrote a letter of comfort and enclosed one of his poems entitled What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Some 30 years later, the poem was put to music, and remains a favourite hymn for many to this day.

Hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus VU664
1 What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

2 Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

3 Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Christ the Saviour is our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do our friends despise, forsake us?
Are we tempted to despair?
Jesus’ strength will shield our weakness,
and we’ll find new courage there.


Invitation to the Offering

Offering Response We Bring our Gifts to Share

We bring our gifts to share, and lift our grateful prayer
That with our faithful care, our world will grow.
Through work of minds and hands
in gestures small or grand,
Let willing hearts expand the love You sow.
Words & music © A. Baer, 2013, arr. S. Porter

Dedication of the Offering

Prayers for the People

The words and music for our response during our closing prayers were written by Bruce Harding in 1997. Bruce and his wife Cheryl are recording artists and worship leaders from the Vancouver area in British Columbia.Alison will play a few notes to indicate when we are to sing each verse.

Spirit God, Be Our Breath MV 150
(Verses are sung, one at time, as a response to the spoken prayer; Alison will indicate when to sing each verse by playing the introductory notes)

Please join with me in prayer.

God of Love, Life and Music … we give you thanks for all that inspires creation to sing praises and glorify your name. We give thanks for those whose faith and talent brings us hymns for all reasons and seasons. We give thanks for those who write and play the music, for those who sing the songs, and for the joy and pleasure it brings each one of us to be part of the harmony of creation.

MV 150 verse 1

Spirit God: be our breath, be our song.
Blow through us, bringing strength to move on.
Our world seems inward, defensive, withdrawn…
Spirit God, be our song.

God of the seasons, we thank you for summer. You surround us with evidence of revival, eternal life, abundance, resurrection in every field, every garden, every flower bed, every forest, every vacation spot and every swimming hole.

Ever-present-One, we sing to you and give thanks for this great country of ours. We give thanks for all who have sacrificed so much so that we might live in freedom in our beloved Canada.
We celebrate and give thanks for the diversity that strengthens and enriches our community and our country.
We give thanks for the abundance that surrounds us. Help us to always be mindful that there is enough for all, and that our calling is to love our neighbour as ourselves.

MV 150 verse 2
Patient God: soothe our pride, calm our fear.
Comfort us. When we know you are near
we grow more certain, our vision is clear.
Patient God, calm our fear.

We pray this morning for all whose lives continue to be affected by recent acts of violence, remembering especially the people of Ukraine as they continue to endure the relentless, cruel and senseless Russian attacks.

We pray for all who are living in encampments, without permanent shelter. We pray for a solution that brings security, safety, and justice for all.

We give thanks this for all who give to help the hungry, the homeless, the refugees; for all who band together to help one another in times of trial. May theirs be an example we continue to support and follow.

God of Healing and Grace, we bring you prayers this morning for those in our midst who need your healing touch:
We pray for those who are grieving; for those who are ill; for those who are in hospice and hospitals; for those facing food insecurity; for those who feel isolated and alone.

And we take time now to offer the names of others who are on our hearts – hear our silent prayers, loving God, as we lift up those who need to feel your presence, your grace, and your healing touch ….

MV 150 verse 3
Loving God: be our voice, be our prayer.
Reaching out, joining hands as we share,
We seek your guidance through friendship and care.
Loving God, be our prayer.

God of Creation, as we enjoy this summer season, may our spirits be fertile ground for Your seeds to take root, so that we can grow in compassion, commitment, and deeds worthy of Your name. May we continue to sing your praises in our lives and in our works.

MV 150 verse 4
Spirit God: be our breath, be our song.
Blow through us, bringing strength to move on.
Through change, through challenge,
we’ll greet the new dawn. Spirit God, be our song.


Mary Susannah Edgar was a Canadian author of several books, one-act plays and hymns, the most famous of them being God Who Touches Earth with Beauty, which has been translated into several languages and placed in hymnals around the world.
Born in 1889, she opened a girls’ camp near Sundridge (Ontario) on Lake Bernard in 1922 called Glen Bernard.(100 years later, the camp is still in operation, offering camps and programs to help girls develop self-confidence and independence). Edgar continued as the camp’s director until her retirement in 1956. Her life was devoted to working with girls and camping through many local, provincial and national organizations.

Mary Susannah Edgar gifted us with our closing hymn this morning, “O God of All the Many Lands”.

Closing Hymn O God of All the Many Lands VU 523

1 O God of all the many lands,
we lift our hearts in prayer,
for this our land of Canada,
a country wide and fair;
for mountain heights and northern lights,
for prairie, lake and sea,
for every blessing from your hand
bestowed so lavishly.

2 We thank you for the sacrifice
of venturers of old,
who dared to cross uncharted seas,
whose dreams made others bold;
for valiant souls and pioneers,
for all who served their age,
and left for us who follow on
a sacred heritage.

3 We thank you that from many lands
with varied gifts they came,
to pledge their love and loyalty
where scarlet maples flame.
May justice here belong to all,
and may our nation play
its rightful role in ushering in
the peace for which we pray.

4 May we be worthy of our land
and seek its highest good,
shaping a noble destiny
of truest nationhood.
May this fair land, our Canada,
your own dominion be;
your people bless abundantly
from seas to Arctic sea.


Our Choral Benediction this morning is another piece that comes to us from Bishop Gordon Light.
Light is a member of a music ministry known as the Common Cup which began in 1979 with members from both the Anglican and United Church. The Christian folk music group reflects a range of concerns including peace, justice and refugee issues, personal faith and spirituality, music for the liturgical seasons, as well as songs about the stages of our life, from birth to death.
The opening phrase (of our hymn) came from a meeting of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council which [Light] attended in the mid-1990s as a representative of the Anglican Church of Canada. The then Presiding Bishop, Ed Browning, gave a kind of “state of the Church” address to the Council in which he pressed (us) to be a more inclusive community. At least twice, he used the phrase “We need to draw the circle wide. . .”. Light says: “it certainly caught my attention and I wrote the words on the flight back to Toronto. The melody came naturally, and when I was asked by the [Common Praise] Hymn Book Committee to name the tune, I called it BROWNING (Donaldson, “Draw the circle wide,” n.d.).
The first stanza names God as the “still-point” of the circle—around whom creation turns.
The second stanza speaks of loving hearts that faithfully encompass or form a circle about, great and small. And it is a circle that touches far horizons and knows no borders, bringing to mind Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

Let us sing together Verse 2 of this hymn of inclusion, Draw the Circle Wide, found in More Voices #145.

*Choral Benediction Draw the Circle Wide MV145 refrain, vs2, refrain

Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still.
Let this be our song: no one stands alone.
Standing side by side,
draw the circle wide.

Let our hearts touch far horizons,
so encompass great and small;
let our loving know no borders,
faithful to God’s call. Refrain


[1] https://musiklus.com/product/teach-me-god-to-wonder/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Susanne_Edgar

[3] https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/articles/history-of-hymns-draw-the-circle-wide


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